By Izuchukwu Okosi
MANCHESTER City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Sporting Lisbon all booked their berths in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night reports Prime Business Africa.
City defeated PSG 2-1 in the pick of the games on Wednesday but both clubs qualified for the knockout stages oft he last 16 of the Champions League, along with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Sporting Lisbon.
Gabriel Jesus scored with a tap in from Bernardo Silva’s deft assist on 76 minutes to settle a tense and close match at the Etihad after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Kylian Mbappe’s goal.
Jesus then sent the crowd to the seventh cloud in Manchester with the second goal while Neymar shot wide to blow a golden chance to put the Parisians ahead. Lionel Messi had a poor game by his standards and Sergio Ramos, again failed to make his debut despite being on the bench.
Pep Guardiola’s City, the beaten finalists last season, are guaranteed of winning Group A with a game to spare, joined by PSG who also qualified in second place despite the loss thanks to RB Leipzig’s beating of Club Brugge 5-0 in Belgium.
Despite being found guilty of complicity in a sex trial earlier in the day, France international Karim Benzema in a dominant display as Real Madrid eased past Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 to avenge the 2-1 embarrassing defeat in the reverse fixture in Group D.
Austrian international of Nigerian descent David Alaba struck the first goal with a free kick and Toni Kroos doubled the goals before Benzema, originally from Algeria through his parents wrapped up the evening for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
The victory meant the Spanish giants returned to to the top of group, two points clear of second-placed Inter Milan, who earlier booked their place in the Round of 16 also qualified for the last 16 after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 thanks to two Edin Dzeko goals.
Sporting Lisbon reached the knockout phase for the first time since the 2008-2009 season as they beat favourites Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the Portuguese capital to relegate the Germans who are still without Erling Haaland through a hip injury to the less fancied Europa League.
Pedro Goncalves netted twice as Sporting got the two-goal winning margin they needed to end the Germans’ hopes of advancing to the knock-out stages.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool had already reached the last 16 going into their tie against Porto that parades Nigeria international Zaidu Sanusi at Anfield.
Thiago Alcantara’s superb low shot and Mohamed Salah’s sixth goal of this season’s group phase wrapped up a comfortable 2-0 win for the Reds.
Reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid shockingly lost 1-0 at home to AC Milan after a dramatic late winner from Milan substitute Junior Messias, a defeat that leaves the Spanish side bottom of Liverpool’s Group B.
Diego Simeone’s team must beat Porto in their final game on December 7 and hope that Liverpool win away against AC Milan, who sit just a point behind the Portuguese club.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.